Ohio man will not face murder charges for fatally shooting 13-year-old Sinzae Reed

An Ohio man who confessed to fatally shooting 13-year-old Sinzae Reed last year, claiming it was an act of self-defense, will not face murder charges in connection with the teen’s death.

After two days of deliberation, jurors on Friday indicted Krieg Butler with improper handling of a firearm and tampering with evidence, according to court records. The charges stem from a deadly confrontation outside Wedgewood Village Apartments in Columbus on Oct. 12, 2022.

Witnesses on the scene said Butler, who is white, exited his vehicle and shot the teen twice before getting back inside and driving away. According to a Franklin County autopsy report released in January, the teen was struck in the hand and in the chest, with the manner of death listed as a homicide.

Butler was arrested days later and charged with murder, but those charges were dropped pending the completion of the investigation. During his arraignment, he said he feared for his life and was only protecting himself when he fired off the shots that killed Reed.

Columbus police have not said whether Sinzae had a gun or other weapon. His mother, Megan Reed, however, previously told The Dispatch her son was not armed.

A spokesperson for the family, DeJuan Sharp, said the teen’s loved ones are struggling to cope with the decision against charging Butler with murder.

“It’s a whole swirl of emotions, anger, sadness. It’s only been a few hours so more feelings will come through,” Sharp told the newspaper. “We’re tired. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. It was like Megan reliving the day Sinzae died all over.”

In a statement to ABC News, Megan Reed added they “will not be deterred from getting justice on a federal level.”